Azra Mufti writes about her experiences of spending the quarantine with her grandparents and enjoying the grandparent-grandchild connection
This is not about the coronavirus, its effects, lessons, treatment or statistics. This is about the detox it has brought in my life. It has been over a month since we have been seeing newspapers inked with headlines and editorials about the pandemic. Everyday, we see views, opinions, and explosive contents that magnify our knowledge about this subject and we have turned into information trackers rather than problem tacklers. People read, write and research about it and in this whole phenomenon of reading, writing, and researching, they are missing an important thing in life, the life itself! We have to hardwire our brain for optimism in this hour of crisis and that is not possible if we become corona experts. Perplexity often gives rise to panic and we cannot afford to manage too many panic attacks at this crucial juncture. It is time to stop visiting the swampy parts of internet, and start looking at the brighter side of things.
One of the greatest blessings that a person can have is to grow under the love and care of grandparents. They help you revisit the culture, the beauty, and the memories of the past. They offset your anxiety and help you understand the greater truths of life. They have the remedy for all our imbalances. They are the guardians of our deepest secrets and partners of our clandestine arguments. I have been blessed with the most wonderful grandparents on the planet. It is not an exaggeration but a reality. I have come to realize that grandparents are called “grand” for a reason and the reason is undoubtedly grand, nothing can beat their love and care.
Who else will check on you 10 times until and unless you return home? Who else will get up for Tahajjud prayers and cry for your happiness before the Almighty Allah? Who else will store tiny, yet special things like walnuts, almonds and candies for you? These small acts that we take for granted are actually a blessing from the almighty which we often ignore and take for granted.
I have spent the quarantine period with my grandparents and they have spoilt me royally with their love and care. My anxieties are offset when I talk to them. I crave for their interactions to break my tardiness. Spending time with them helps me relieve stress and look at the brighter side of life. My grandfather is touching 100 and he can offer me a lot in the way of advice, which he often does. He narrates the stories of Maqbool Bhat, Maqbool Sherwani, Gulab Singh, Hari Singh, and Sheikh Abdullah. No library or book can enlighten my knowledge in the way he does. He has never missed a prayer in his life and makes sure we also don’t miss them.
A very deep line which he often quotes is, “Hamare time mai ilm kam aur adab ziyada tha; Aj kal ilm ziyada hai aura adab kam.“
Every word, every sentence, and every advice that he gives makes a deep impression on my mind, which I often ponder upon.
My grandmother is saner, wiser, and the matriarch of our family. She never speaks a sentence that is not laced with humour or wisdom. We talk like friends and I can share my deepest secrets with her.
As the trend of old-age houses is increasing, I fail to understand how we can fall into this ghetto mentality. Why cannot we appreciate this blessing? They just need to be loved, cared and cocooned. Is it too much of a deal? The attitude toward old people needs to be changed. They need to be treated with the utmost care and respect.
(Azra Mufti is an author and research scholar)